As Jews, we affirm the power of life, and the ability to live life to its fullest. But as we begin to watch our parents fail, taking care of our aging parents and having to make choices for them that they may or may not support, can become an emotional burden.
However, there are some myths regarding the aging process that need to be addressed. According to Rabbi Thomas A Loucheim, in â€œThat You May Live Longâ€- edited by Richard F. Address and Hara E. Person, the following are some of the myths about the elderly:
1. As the population ages, there will be more grumpy old men and women. False. This is true only if they were grumpy in their thirties.
2. Most elderly people will live in nursing facilities. False. About four out of five Americans over eighty live in the community and not in a nursing home.
3. Elderly people are senile. Only one in twenty Americans over sixty-five has dementia.
4. Disability is rising as our population ages. False. As gains in the health industry are made, disabilities in those over sixty-five are actually declining.
5. Old age is a time of idyllic serenity and tranquility, a time to just relax and enjoy the fruitâ€™s of oneâ€™s labors. Once you reach a certain age, you canâ€™t be productive anymore. True and False. It depends on the individual. There are more and more individuals who continue as they age to do what they always have done. Retirement is often not a consideration. Likewise, many older individuals spend their time volunteering to help others.
6. Elderly people are resistant to change. False. This depends more on lifelong personality traits than on oneâ€™s age.
Jewish Family & Career Services provides services to help older adults bridge the gap created by the aging process. We also help adult children to adjust to the difficult changes their parents are experiencing. â€œOur goal is to help people maintain the highest possible quality of life for the longest possible time,â€ says Mauri Malka, Director of Klein Older Adult Services. To contact JFCS: call Mauri at 452-6341 or visit our webpage to learn more about the ways we can help you and your loved ones.
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